Emerging Folk – Frances Hope, Ali Neil, BREGN, Riverfields

Frances Hope is angelic on her new single Beautiful Mind.  Her vocals resonate with an ethereal, entrancing elegance.  Hope delivers soothing melodies with soul and dramatic cadence.  The performance feels natural, with all of the energy and effort being reserved for the emotion.  A minimalistic arrangement features subtle production of bass, harmonies and strings.  Otherwise its mainly Hope and an accompanying piano, with the additional elements serving mostly to enhance the main melody.  The bare arrangement offers rare serenity, drawing you into the soothing lullaby of Beautiful Mind.  

Lyrically Beautiful Mind is a chance for Hope to heal.  It’s an anthem, a call to arms for women trapped in abusive relationships.  Hope describes it as the most vulnerable song on her upcoming EP.   “Behind sad eyes, lives a beautiful mind.  She’s been a pawn, her heart is strong.  She’s been guarded far too long.” 

  The simple ingredients and Hope’s serene vocal talents recall arrangements by classic 90s songwriter Sarah McLachlan.  With indie sensibility it also connects with recent releases by Brandi Carlile and Lana Del Rey.  

  Enjoy Beautiful Mind now on our Emerging Folk Playlist

Ali Neil

UK songwriter Ali Neil recently dropped his debut EP Land Before Us.  The artist writes thoughtful songs with imaginative arrangements.  The droning synth that introduces the first track, Place Called Winter, sets the tempo for the sonic surprises heard throughout.  Every song could just as easily be Ali and his guitar, but with bedroom pop sensibility he flatters our acquired musical intellect. 

Embellishing the songwriters canon in this manner was first refined by works like Pet Sounds and then later adapted in modern indie by artists like Beirut and Bon Iver.  The soft synths from Edge of Reason and Damn Life suggest retro inspirations, particularly the sacred soulful pop of artists like Peter Gabriel.  Ali’s signature addition is the subtle alt-country flare in his writing.  In contrast to this sonic design, Land Before Us is entirely new and hauntingly familiar.  

The EP’s final song, Heart of Man, is its most traditional.  Like a southern hymnal with folk ancestry, Ali duets with a twangy female lead.  The vibe could draw similarities to mainstream crossovers like the Lumineers and The Head and The Heart.  

  The EP’s defining principle is the soft careful touch heard throughout. Everything instrument is carefully caressed with the care and patience shown to a labor of love.  With spaced out arrangements, you’re invited to relish in every texture.  Land Before Us is a solid debut from a buzz worthy songwriter. 

  Enjoy Damn Life now on our Emerging Folk Playlist. 

BREGN – Summertime

BREGN pens a seasonal gem on his exotic new single Summertime.  Like a sonic dreamscape BREGN creates a lush musical atmosphere.  Shimmering guitars dance around his whispery vocal delivery.  The songwriter brings a naturally catchy vibe in the songs swaggering tempo.  Paired with the echoing atmosphere and sparse samples, its a righteous dream folk summer hit. 

Classically it connects with psychedelic California pop by CSNY and America.  The expressive layered guitar work also draws similarities to recent works by Kurt Vile and Lord Huron.  There’s an eastern flare, a touch of desert spirit in the repetitive resolutions. 

Rooted in the 60s psychedelic folk movement, Summertime conjures memories of free love and spiritual awakenings.  An alteration to the typical upbeat summertime hits, BREGN’s Summertime is more melancholy.  The artist admits its more of a song for the summertime blues.  The season does magnify the trials of fleeting youth.  For us, the psychedelic vibe also recalls how Summer often signals spiritual growth.  

BREGN has a penchant for experimental arrangements.  A TWIC favorite, he brings innovation and singularity to every release.  His playing, though calculated, feels free and in the moment.  

Enjoy Summertime now on our Emerging Folk Playlist 

Riverfields – Don’t Go

The Swedish project Riverfields embrace their influences on the catchy new single Don’t Go.  Born out of their shared love for modern icons like Tom Petty and Springsteen, their songs evolve these classic vibes with an updated indie sensibility and the bands own signature touch. 

In the spirit of purveying the vintage spirit, the tonal palette has the sonic design of the classic releases.  Including the passionate lift of the female support harmony by Anastasia Grivogianni, Don’t Go recalls recent alt-country duo Shovels and Rope. The chordal resolutions in the songwriting conjure memories of The Traveling Wilbury’s and Steve Earle.  Altogether its a buzz worthy release from this new Swedish roots rock revival.  

  The Riverfields trio of Peter Runesson, Markus Lundström and Tony Martinsson are quick to admit that they’re having a good time. It’s common for a chilled Riesling to rifle the creative energy.  That joy and feel good affect is part of their appeal.  Don’t Go jumps out of the speakers with warmth and presence.  A proper studio record, the familiar nostalgic mix is attributed to its makings.  Enlisting Per-Ola Eriksson to Record and produce the new record at  Studio Kneipler Nelu in Gothenburg and then getting the Master done in the legendary Abbey Road Studio is part of the records charm.  

  Reminisce to Don’t Go now on our Emerging Folk Playlist 

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